Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque welcomes new archbishop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque welcomes new archbishop

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Archbishop of Dubuque Jerome Hanus Archbishop of Dubuque Jerome Hanus
Bishop Michael Jackels (Courtesy: Catholic Diocese of Wichita) Bishop Michael Jackels (Courtesy: Catholic Diocese of Wichita)
The Dubuque Archdiocese's 30-county area The Dubuque Archdiocese's 30-county area
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque announced a new leader Monday morning.

Former Dubuque archbishop Jerome Hanus, 72-years-old and now archbishop emeritus, is retiring, citing declining health. Recently installed Pope Francis appointed bishop of Wichita, Kan., Michael Jackels, 58, to replace Hanus.

"For eight years he has served faithfully and effectively as the bishop of Wichita," Hanus said, introducing Jackels at a media conference Monday morning at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Care Center in Dubuque.

Hanus said he got word of Pope Francis' approval of his retirement and naming of Jackels as his replacement about two weeks ago.

"I knew [Jackels] before, and I thought that he would be a very good choice," Hanus said. "I was thrilled when I learned that he was the one coming here."

Jackels has served as the bishop of Wichita, Kan., for eight years. He hails from a military family. He father was in the Air Force, so Jackels grew up moving from base to base.

Jackels calls this move from Wichita to Dubuque "bittersweet."

"The sweet part is coming to such a rich archdiocese," Jackels said. "The bitter part is leaving friends that I have made in Wichita over the years and have worked hard with."

Jackels is fluent in Spanish and said he believes in promoting cultural and ethnic diversity. He served for a time in Rome under then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now known as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"You can tell he's a people-person," Hanus said. "He enjoys being with people, he enjoys serving them, so I think he'll be embraced by the people and he already is embracing them."

Jackels said he encourages active participation in the Catholic faith.

"As many of the people in the archdiocese that we can get involved in the work of the mission of the church, serving the poor or teaching the faith or witnessing or being involved in the worship, when we gather for worship-- the more, the better," Jackels said, who describes himself as a hard worker. "In what I do I try to be motivated by my love for Christ and my dedication to the mission of the church."

Jackels was ordained as a priest in 1989 in Lincoln, Neb. and has spent many of his years living in the Midwest.

Hanus said he plans on retiring to Conception Abbey in northwest Missouri, where he served from 1960 to 1987. However, Hanus will continue serving the Archdiocese of Dubuque as apostolic administrator until Jackels' installation on May 30, when Jackels will assume full leadership.

The Archdiocese of Dubuque covers 30 eastern Iowa counties, including Dubuque, Black Hawk and Linn counties. It serves the area's more than 200,000 Catholics.

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